From Fitness & Power
If you could do only one exercise at home, to work your whole body, and you didn’t have any equipment available, what would that exercise be ? Believe it or not, there is one movement that can build your abs, tighten almost all the muscles in your body and help you lose fat. And you don’t need any equipment to perform it.
The exercise’s name is plank. The plank is one of the best and most effective exercises you can do at home. It doesn’t only work your core, but your whole body – planks work all the muscles you need to maintain proper posture, like your back, chest, shoulders, abs, and neck. Devoting about 5-10 minutes for the plank every day for a couple of months will definitely return pleasant results.
Even though it looks easy, the plank requires a lot of energy if done correctly. The essence of the exercise is that, you should “float” above the floor for several minutes, supporting yourself on your arms and feet. The plank is a static exercise and there is no movement, so it is important to use proper form during execution. As a result, you’ll build your abs, strengthen your shoulders, legs, arms and back.
Proper execution of the plank
1. Lie on your stomach as you would do a push up. The difference with the push up, though, is that instead on your palms, you need to bend your elbows 90 degrees and support yourself on your forearms. The basic idea is to keep your body straight as a wood plank for several minutes, with your body tight, without relaxing your body.
2. Your feet need to be placed close in order to keep the tension in your core muscles.
3. The legs need to be straight and tightened. Watch not to bend your knees and touch the ground with them. This position creates additional pressure in your abdominal muscles and your legs. Your buttocks need to stay tight in order to activate the lower abdominal muscles.
4. Lower back: The lower back is actually the most important part of doing this exercise that will tighten every muscle in your body. The lower back needs to stay flat all the time if you want this movement to be effective. Do not arch it or curve it at any point.
6. Get your stomach in as much as you can. This action will add tension in your whole abdominal area.
7. Keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle directly under your shoulders. This will help you with the strain and activate your shoulders too.
If done regularly, this static movement will help you build your abs and tighten almost every muscle in your body. Some experts even suggest that the plank is way more effective for your abs than any other other exercise that directly target your abs, such as crunches or sit ups.